Are you burned out from trying to be well? Is your fitness routine taking its toll on you? It is hard work these days, with all of the yoga and meditation, weight training, and cardio – not to mention the mountain called life that is always in front of you.
Of course, regular wellness and self-care practices are important and can help us face the hard work of being human. However, sometimes you just feel like lying down and doing nothing. It is in those moments, the idea of dragging yourself out the door for an endorphin boosting workout can cause more stress than it will alleviate.
Try a relaxation pose for 5 to 10 minutes per day and feel restored. Viparita Karani or legs up on the wall, it calms nerves, releases lower back tension, drains blood from the legs, and even eases brain activity for a few minutes.
Studies have proven that this specific yoga pose has a proven effect on the vagus nerve, the longest of our cranial nerves, which runs from our brains through our lungs to our gut. It is responsible for our sympathetic nervous system – the one that puts us in “fight or flight” mode as well as the parasympathetic nervous system – the one that tells us to “rest and digest.”
In yoga, inversions are believed to stimulate the vagal nerve, and high “vagal tone” means your body can switch between states. In other words, you are able to come down from your constant state of alert once in a while.
You can do Viparita Karani anywhere, from a hotel room or gym to your bedroom or at the base of a tree. The grounding effect is great and is exactly what the body craves. To get your body into position, lay a blanket or yoga mat out – you can even lie on carpet or grass and sit sideways against the wall. Swing your legs up against the wall while rotating your hips, and lie back. At this point, you may have to wiggle to get your rear flush with the wall. Your hamstrings shouldn’t feel strained, so if they do, put some distance between your behind and the wall. Put your hands over your head and do nothing. Relax. Repeat.